The stimulator is a very good all purpose fly fishing trout and salmon searching pattern. It is a remarkable ‘attractor’ fly that coaxes reluctant large trout to strike.
STIMULATOR ATTRACTOR SEARCHING DRY FLY PATTERN. Hook size 6 8 10 12 14 16 - $US each
THE STIMULATOR DEBATE
"I invented that," Jim Slattery says, "That was my tie". Jim who moved to West Yellowstone, is not usually accredited with being the original designer of the Stimulator fly fishing pattern. This honor normally goes to Randall Kaufmann, shop owner and American West Coast angler. Jim tells friends and customers that he originally tied this stonefly pattern when he lived in New Jersey back in 1980, to fish the Musconetcong River. It was based on the Sofa Pillow and originally called the Fluttering Stonefly but later changed to the Stimulator after a New York City punk-rock group. He tells clients that the fly was nearly named after his own punk rock band called Violator. As an attractor fly the Stimulator name is superb. It does what it says on the tin. It stimulates the trout's interest into taking the fly. Jim's original fly was a bit different to the Stimulator tied today. The shape, contrasting colors, materials used, length of thorax and abdomen were roughly the same. What was different was that the hair for the wing was not stacked. It was still great at catching fish, so much so that it came to the attention of Randell Kaufmann in California. He modified it, kept the same name and did a lot to expose this style of tying. It is affectionately known as the "Stim" or "Stimmie". Jim Slattery owns Fireside Angler in the town of West Yellowstone.
This is Jim Slattery in his West Yellowstone Fireside Angler Fishing shop. The original designer of the Stimulator fly pattern
Stonefly dry fly fishing
Fly fishermen have rarely afforded the same reverence to the stonefly nymph pattern that they give to the mayfly. They have been left in the mayfly's shadow. Their existence accepted buy their importance to a trout's diet hardly acknowledged by most fly-fishermen.
They are an important indicator to the quality of the water. Stoneflies exist in only the cleanest of streams, rivers, tarns and lakes. When you see stoneflies you know that the water you are about to fish is of top quality.
Worldwide there are about 3,000 species of stoneflies. All stoneflies possess four wing, in most species heavily-veined and lying flat across the back when the adult insect is at rest. The Stonefly's antennae are more robust and shorter than most caddis flies. All have two sturdy tails in both the adult and larval forms.
Most species seem to hatch between May and June in the Northern hemisphere but smaller stoneflies can be found hatching throughout the fishing season in lesser numbers.
Unlike the mayfly and caddis they go from egg to larva to adult with no pupal stage. Instead the larva, known as the creeper, undergoes a number of skin shedding stages known as instars. In some cases it undergoes as many as 20 instars before attaining adulthood. Some of the larger stoneflies can spend two or three years as a creeper. All this time they are a potential substantial meal for any hungry trout.
In most cases the creeper finally crawls onto dry land to shed its nymphal skin. Spent nymphal shucks on the river banks, rocks and vegetation bear witness to this behaviour. (There are a few species that hatch on the water)
Some fishermen say that the adult stage of the stonefly is of no importance to the fly fisherman because they hatch on dry land and spend most of their adult life away from the water. This is not true. The female returns to lay her eggs and often ends up as fish food.
Last June I watched a large stonefly as it danced in the air above the chalkstream river I was fishing. It then dived at the water surface and rose quickly in a flutter of brown veined wing after it had dipped its abdomen below the surface before dropping back to the water surface again. On each dive she would drop a few eggs into the water.
The trout are on the lookout for this behaviour. The first dive alerts them of the female's presence and they then spring into action and try to devour her on the second or third egg laying dive.
Traditionally wet flies like the soft hackle and various subsurface stonefly nymphs have been used to imitate stoneflies. There is no reason why dry fly tactics should not be used even on the most turbulent stream when female stoneflies are seen to be laying eggs.
Stimulator dry flies or tent winged horned caddis flies are excellent adult female stonefly imitations. Yes you did read that last sentence correctly. I find tent winged horned caddis flies work very well as a stonefly imitation. Just match the fly that looks similar in size and colour to the ones laying eggs on your stretch of the water.
Try to imitate the diving action of the female adult egg laying stonefly to get results. Cast your dry fly onto the water surface, wait a second and then remove it. Cast again nearby. Make sure you choose an area where the real female stoneflies have been laying their eggs. The trout will be on the alert in those locations. Have fun.
FACEBOOK READER'S COMMENT
Jim Slattery.. He invented the Kaufman stonefly fly . Randall Kaufman stole it from him. The fly was actually going to be named the Violator after Jim's band in New Jersey. He also was a great wrestler. Me, him, William Devane and and old timer would fish quake lake every night. Leaky Louie was the old timers name. After fishing we would go to Leakys trailer.... That he bought off of Dan Bailey. Leaky drank 1792 bourbon We would put him to bed I could keep going on and on....Edward Torchia
FACEBOOK READER'S COMMENT
I actually gave the name, "Stimulator", to Randall Kaufman when I guided on the Deschutes for him in 1979. He also turned my "Flashback Caddis" into his "Flashback Pheasant Tail". - David Lambroughton